The coalition of 60 entities, mainly environmental and cultural NGOs, known as Spazji Miftuħa and supported by over 16,200 individual signatures, is surprised by the news issued by members of the Mellieħa Local Council that on Sunday 11th October the Government will be signing over land to the hunting federation FKNK.
The decision to do this was heavily contested when the idea originally came out early this year and the issues that concerned this coalition remain unsolved. Both Miżieb and Aħrax are two large woodlands, a rather rare habitat in Malta, and five times the size of Buskett.
The coalition primarily demands that the general public should be allowed to access all the public land within Miżieb and Aħrax all year round. It reminds the Prime Minister that while FKNK is a registered NGO it does not fall anywhere close to many other NGOs whose aim is to work for the common good. FKNK’s sole interest is to have space for a small segment of its members to hunt. They have already done so illegally for a number of years when they closed access without the legal right to do so. FKNK had also erected signs illegally and allowed its members to build structures for their pastime without the necessary permits. These had been reported by BirdLife Malta a few years ago and a fresh report was submitted by the coalition on this matter.
FKNK has never proved to be capable of managing the land and even worse their members who use this area. In fact, these areas have been known to be the meccas of hunting illegalities. These include the discovery of various illegally shot protected birds during night searches along with the filming of an FKNK official shooting a protected bird at Miżieb. The Government is gifting these public lands to an entity that has taken more from our country then it could ever possibly return. This sends out the message that in Malta you can be unaccountable for your actions and even be gifted if this is gainful for the politicians on election day.
The coalition feels that there is a great sense of anger and frustration brewing amongst the majority of the Maltese public that are witnessing the destruction of our natural and cultural spots for the pleasure of a few and the pockets of some others. The Prime Minister must start realising that political gain is by far not a justification to abuse our country’s resources and that if he remains insensitive to these issues he will be remembered as the leader that had no regard to our nature and cultural heritage.